Morocco to tender for 2 solar plants totalling 300 MW

Updated 02 August 2013

Morocco to tender for 2 solar plants totalling 300 MW

RABAT: Morocco will launch tenders by the start of the fourth quarter for the construction of two concentrated solar power plants, one 200 megawatts (MW) and the other 100 MW, near the southern city of Ouarzazate, its solar energy agency said.
Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power is already building a 160 MW plant in the Ouarzazate area under a government initiative to produce 2 gigawatts of solar power by 2020, which is equivalent to about 38 percent of Morocco’s current installed generation capacity.
Morocco’s Solar Energy Agency (Masen) said consortia led by Spain’s Abengoa, GDF’s International Power and Acwa Power had been pre-selected for the 200 MW (Noor II) tender.
The three groups are also pre-qualified for the 100 MW tender, with another consortium led by France’s EDF.
The authority has chosen parabolic mirror technology for the 200 MW concentrated solar plant, while the 100 MW plant will also be built as a solar power tower.
Government and banking sources earlier told Reuters about the tenders.
“The capacity ... will depend on the contractors, who could bid for more than the announced capacity, especially with the 100 MW tower which could reach 200 meters, the highest tower ever seen in Morocco,” one of the sources said.
Acwa Power won the contract for the first plant last year after offering a price of 1.62 dirhams ($0.19) per kilowatt/hour that it produces from the plant.
State power utility ONEE has also agreed with international lenders to build around 10 solar photovoltaic plants around the country to generate 30 MW each to help stabilize its electricity network as it faces growing demand.
The World Bank’ss Clean Technology Fund, the European Investment Bank and German state-owned KfW Bank have given their initial agreement to help finance the project, with the official announcement expected in the coming weeks, banking sources said.
Last week, Chinese firm Sepco III signed a contract to build a 318 MW coal-fired plant in Morocco, which is seeking to diversify production and export electricity to energy-hungry Europe.
Morocco is spending heavily to subsidise power production. It currently imports power from Spain as its consumption grows by around 7 percent year.


Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

Updated 15 November 2019

Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

  • Others have also reduced headcount amid economic downturn and property market weakness

DUBAI: HSBC Holdings has laid off about 40 bankers in the UAE and Emirates NBD is cutting around 100 jobs, as banks in the Arab world’s second-biggest economy reduce costs.

The cuts come amid weak economic growth, especially in Dubai, which is suffering from a property downturn.

HSBC’s redundancies came after the London-based bank reported a sharp fall in earnings and warned of a costly restructuring, as interim CEO Noel Quinn seeks to tackle its problems head-on.

HSBC has about 3,000 staff in the UAE, part of a nearly 10,000-strong workforce in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

The cuts at Dubai’s largest lender Emirates NBD came in consumer sales and liabilities, one source said, while a second played down the significance of the move.

HSBC and Emirates NBD declined to comment.

“The cuts are part of cost cutting and rationalizing to drive efficiencies in a challenging market,” the second source said.

Other banks have also reduced staff this year. UAE central bank data shows local banks laid off 446 people in the 12 months until the end of September. Foreign banks added staff in the same period.

Staff at local banks account for over 80 percent of the 35,518 banking employees in the country.

The merger between Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union Commercial Bank and Al Hilal Bank saw hundreds of redundancies.

Commercial Bank International (CBI) said it would offer voluntary retirement to employees in September, which sources said saw over 100 departures. Standard Chartered, too, cut over 100 jobs in the UAE in September.

Rating agency Fitch warned in September a weakening property market would put more pressure on the UAE’s banking sector.